The Gig Economy

Gig EconomyI was minding my daily morning chore of reviewing email when something caught my eye… mostly because I had never heard of it. “Looking for an expert in gig economy”, it read. “Gig what?”, I said to myself almost out loud. WordSpy.com provide me with an answer. “Gig Economy n. The economic sector consisting of freelancers who take on a series of small jobs, particularly when those jobs are contracted online using a website or app.” That makes sense to me. After all, I’ve become a half-way participant.

Here is how it happened. I’m over 50 years old (we’ll just leave it at that). The company I worked for and that I wanted to continue working for determined they no longer had need for my services. (Amazingly, they hired two very young people to do my work, paying them combined less than they paid me, but I’m sure, since the company told me so, that had nothing to do with it). So I hit the road with high expectations for my next job.

I had never, in more than 30 years of working, had trouble finding a job. But things had changed. Here is how it went.

I’d send resumes. I’d get phone interviews and they would go very well. The next step would be an in-person interview. They would tell me they were excited. I’d be excited. I’d walk in the door. The color would drain from their faces. They wouldn’t know what to say. I was OLD! Inevitably they’d regain their composure, but the excitement and discussion we had during the phone interview was gone. As quickly as they could do it without overtly offending me, the interview would end. I’d sometimes receive a polite email a few days later saying they hired someone else. In most cases I never heard from them again.

So now I roll with gigs, or short-term assignments, but as I mentioned I’m a half-way participant in the gig economy because I don’t find my work on an app or online. I’m fortunate to have had vast experience that is in high demand during mergers, takeovers and management changes. I can lead teams through fire and I get paid well for it. Fortunate for me, but unfortunately for many my age, the gig economy is returning us to pre-union worker exploitation levels. After all, with the increased costs of ObamaCare, payroll taxes, retirement benefits, et al, why not minimum wage out your work on a piecemeal basis?

While minding my morning chores this morning I learned something new. What are your experiences with this new “gig economy”?

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